Devon pub landlord in court for allegedly groping barmaids

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Alex Walton

A pub landlord allegedly groped four of his barstaff by groping their breasts while stuffing their wages into their bras.

Peter Hayball also patted them on the chest and bottom and put ice down the shirt of one of them so he could touch her nipple as he got it out, a jury was told.

He is alleged to have put the wages of one young barmaid down his own trousers and tried to persuade her to put her hand inside to get them out.

Hayball allegedly told one of the women that he could not help himself because ‘she had a cracking set of tits’.

Hayball, 56, of Crossways, South Chard, denies 13 counts of sexual assault against four different women between 2016 to 2018.

Miss Mary McCarthy, prosecuting, said all four women worked for Hayball when he was running a pub in Devon and the first three did not complain to police at the time, although two left because of his behaviour.

They were all traced after the fourth and youngest of the alleged victims went to police after she was groped while running an outside bar at an event in Taunton in June 2018.

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She said he started making crude remarks about a tongue piercing as he drove her there and went on to push her face towards his crotch and to put an ice cube down her top before touching her nipple as he retrieved it.

He put her hand over his penis and tied to get her to take her wages out of his underwear. She refused and called her mother in distress. He also tried to touch her private parts over clothing.

Miss McCarthy said the first three women tried to brush off his assaults at the time but made complaints when they learned of the police investigation.

The others said he had asked to grope their breasts and then brushed past them so his arm made contact and had put their wages into their bras, touching their breasts in the process.

He told one he would not pay her unless he was allowed ‘just one touch’ of her breasts. He told another she was ‘no fun’ when she twisted away from his attempt to touch her.

The same barmaid was groped when Hayball was giving her a lift and told ‘it isn’t my fault because you have a cracking set of tits’

He also stroked some on the thigh while driving them to run outside bars and had run his hands over their bottoms while they were working in the pub.

He denied any deliberate touching when interviewed by police but said there had been some innocent ‘horseplay’ with one of the women.

Miss McCarthy said the final woman’s bra was sent for forensic examination and traces of Hayball’s DNA was recovered from it.

She said: “The prosecution case is that what these women will describe to you were sexual by their nature and Hayball’s purpose was evidently sexual.”

The trial continues.